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Superintendent's District Update - June 2017

Falls City Public Schools Superintendent’s District Update – June 2017

The Falls City Public School held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, June 12, 2017. Here are the highlights of the meeting.

Rob Baker presented the annual transportation report and statistics for the 2016-2017 school year. Rob Baker noted approximately 290 District 56 students are transported daily on the district’s eight rural routes.

Board Meeting Informational Items and Reports:

Legislative Update: As we look toward the 2018 Session, it is no surprise that bills regarding taxation, valuation, reading performance, TEEOSA state aid, retirement system, early childhood, charter and related, student behavior, substitute teachers, etc. will be at the ready for early consideration. Bills out of committee, particularly if prioritized, will be of high interest. Bills ending the session still in committee are still up for consideration.

Expect significant activity regarding high profile topics during the interim period. Committees have prioritized their resolutions and will determine whether the associated interim studies take public testimony or are studied within the committee only. Some on the list may be merged. At the same time, associations, collaborative groups, senators, and groups of senators will continue to work on items of interest to prepare for the 2018 Session.

Continuous School Improvement & District Goals: The FCPS Data Team attended the ESU 4 Data Retreat on June 1 & 2. After looking at district and building level student achievement data, the team identified an academic school improvement goal: All Falls City Public School students will increase their achievement in Mathematics and English Language Arts. Support data for our goal is NWEA MAP (grades K-11), NeSA (grades 3-8) and ACT (grade 11). The identification of "At-Risk" learners (grades 1-11) was created during building level collaboration. Each building identified "At-Risk" learners utilizing NWEA MAP, DIBELS, and AR individual student data. As we move forward, there will be a school improvement presentation during pre-service for all staff. The purpose of this presentation will be to share the district academic goal and supporting district data. As the district moves into year two of our AdvancED cycle, student data folders will continue to be discussed as a strategy to support the district academic goal as well as the improvement priorities. 

STEM Academy: FCPS has a team registered for the 2017 Academy. The STEM Academy is a day long, highly interactive curriculum and professional development workshop presented by Discovery Education and designed specifically for rural schools. Attending this workshop will allow participants to gain an intense focus on instructional practices to successfully apply STEM philosophy in the classroom, delve into what STEM practices look like and how to build them into the curriculum to maximize student engagement and achievement, learn STEM instructional strategies connected to the demands of the NGSS and CCSS, and learn action steps for immediate application of STEM philosophy for enhanced student learning. Schuyler Public Schools, which already has a relationship with Discovery STEM will be on hand to discuss/share their STEM experience. The philosophy of STEM is: Students and Teachers Energizing Minds, beyond science, technology, engineering, and math. The goal of this Academy is professional development and curriculum enhancement for educators in all fields. This Academy is not simply about resources provided by Discovery Education, but about making educators better educators by teaching them to apply STEM philosophy in their classrooms.

Building & Grounds UpdateBuilding & Grounds Update: The planned facility improvements are well underway and the completion of the high school bleacher replacement project has been finalized. The Sixpence Early Childhood playground structure is set to be installed at South School in mid to late July.

Policy Planning: Policies to review that will be on First Reading are as follows: 

1) 2111 Open Meetings: We are making three primary changes to this policy. First, we are adding the types of board meetings. Second, we are updating the Notice section to include using the district website as an official notice, as well as the newspaper. Third, we added a section on weather delays.

2) 5311 Bidding for Construction, remodeling, Repair or Site Improvement: The first section is simply introductory wording to make it clear that this policy applies to all construction which is not funded with federal dollars. 

The second section sets out the process that the District will follow when it is undertaking a construction project that has an anticipated cost of less than $100,000. Under state law, school districts are only required to engage in the formal solicitation of bids when they are undertaking construction with a cost of more than $100,000, but most districts want to follow some structured process for obtaining quotes or estimates before they begin smaller projects. This section also includes the ability for the district to use the ESUCC Coop for these non-bid projects.

3) 5312 Bidding for Construction, Remodeling, Repairs or Related Projects Financed with Federal Funds: The EDGAR regulations have fairly detailed requirements for the process that schools must follow if they are undertaking construction using federal funds. While we have not used federal dollars for construction, we may want to consider adopting this policy so that if we could do construction with federal dollars we will have the opportunity to do so in the future. 

4) 5313 Design-Build Contracts: The Political Subdivisions Construction Alternatives Act requires a school to have policies in place before it can use the design-build method of construction. This policy complies with the requirements of the Act. 

5) 5314 Construction Management at Risk Contracts: The Political Subdivisions Construction Alternatives Act requires a school to have policies in place before it can use the construction management at risk method of construction. This policy complies with the requirements of the Act. 

Action Items

1) Approved First reading on policy revision recommendations:

a) 2111 Open Meetingsb) 5311 Bidding for Construction, Remodeling, Repair, or Site Improvement; c) 5311 Bidding for Construction, Remodeling, Repair, or Site Improvement or Related Projects Financed with Federal Funds; d) 5313 Design-Build Contracts; e) 5314 Construction Management at Risk Contracts.

2) Approved Second and final reading policy revisions:

a) 5420 School Meal Program and Meal Charges (NEW)b) 7139 School Wellness Policy)

3) Approved Substitute Teacher Pay Rate for 2017-2018 at $125 per day. This is an increase of $15.

4) Designated the Superintendent as the District’s Federal Programs Signatory.